Prime Minister David Thompson, unveils the plaque to officially open the SATJAY Bridgetown Centre yesterday. Pictured from left to right are Manisha and Chandru Thani, and Chairman of Satjay Enterprises, Lalu Vaswani and his wife Madhuri.
“There will be no flight from the City to the suburbs” and Bridgetown will not become “run down”.
This assurance was given by Prime Minister David Thompson yesterday, as he delivered the feature address at the official opening of the SATJAY Bridgetown Centre, located at Victoria Street.
While stressing that Government was proud of the development in rural districts which enabled people to drive to new shopping malls outside the City, Mr. Thompson said that there were several compelling reasons for investing heavily in the rejuvenation of central Bridgetown.
“First, several thousand Barbadians live in Bridgetown and for them the inner city is their local shopping centre. Many of them cannot just jump in a car and drive out to suburban malls.
“Second, there are several shop attendants, office workers and other people who work in Bridgetown who need a convenient shopping centre near to their places of work.
“Third, are the hundreds of thousands of tourists who gravitate to Bridgetown,” the Prime Minister noted.
He commended the Directors of SATJAY Bridgetown for allocating some of the units in the mall to persons who were previously street vendors. “I want to see more opportunities like this being created for ordinary Barbadians to make the transition from a one-man band, to small and medium-sized businesses.
“I have also said before, and I will say it again, that we need more small business persons to identify and penetrate niche markets in the global market place,” Mr. Thompson urged.
He also lauded the efforts of SATJAY in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Works and other businesses in Victoria and Broad Streets to improve the lighting and to develop the proposed “streetscape” surrounding the building.
“I know that you share a vision of Bridgetown that is fully pedestrianised.
Interestingly enough, this is consistent with our long-term plan to introduce a rapid transit, mass passenger transport system bringing workers, shoppers and other people on business and leisure into the heart of the City without wasting time in long traffic jams,” the Prime Minister observed.
Products and services available at the SATJAY Bridgetown Centre include watch repairs, professional optometry service, local, Chinese and Caribbean cuisine, jewellery, apparel, stationery and books, and ladies’ shoes and handbags.
The mall has a total of 31 shops and employs over 110 persons.